Georgia stock report: Measuring Bulldogs’ success amid college football’s seismic shift

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Georgia quarterback Brock Vandagriff is among the first UGA athletes positioned to benefit from the NIL legislation, set to begin on July 1. Vandagriff (12) is shown here during the G-Day Game on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker)

College football is in the midst of a massive offseason overhaul coming out of COVID-19 lockdown.

Recruiting activities fired back up on June 1 amid a landscape that features an NCAA-approved one-time transfer rule and pending NIL legislation for players to be paid.

The most recent game-changing push is for the College Football Playoffs to be expanded from four to 12 teams as early as 2023.

Coaches, administrators and programs have been left to scramble and adjust quickly to a seismic shift like no other before it.

Georgia football has ranked among the national championship contenders each of the past four seasons, finishing in the Top 10 each year and playing in the SEC Championship Game on three occasions.

The Bulldogs were fine as is — or, should we say, as was.

But as UGA athletic director Josh Brooks like to say when quoting New York Times best-selling author John C. Maxwell, “Change is inevitable, growth is optional.”

Here’s a stock report on how Georgia stands, rolling with and embracing offseason changes.

Stock soaring

Georgia football building

The number of talented recruits streaming in and out of the Bulldogs’ new $80 million football building in June has been telling, but so have the player reviews.

RELATED: 5 stars reviews are in for Georgia FB building

“The Lamborghini seats of the locker room. The snack bar. The recovery center. They have everything that you can think of …. They have a really cool hyperbaric chamber …. They had this massage chair that shot water up to massage you,” — Justice Haynes, 2023 RB Roswell.

“You can work out every single muscle in your body in there. They said if you still need something that they don’t have, they’ll get it. It is crazy. The technology …. The weight room is just ginormous. They’ve got these buttons where they can light up the whole weight room red.” — Oscar Delp, 2022 TE Cumming

Name-Image-Likeness

Georgia is one of five states with NIL legislation pending for July 1, but already, at least five current athletes have been identified as potential brand ambassadors.

WATCH: Former Georgia star Drew Butler explains Icon Source role to NIL money for players

Golfer Trent Phillips, track star Matthew Boling, baseball standout Connor Tate and football players Brock Vandagriff and Jack Podlesny are expected to break approached by Onward Reserve.

It’s great publicity for the brand, obviously, but it also elevates those young men and the fact Georgia athletes will be among the first to benefit from the bill signed by Gov. Brian Kemp on May 6

RELATED: Georgia has no plans to split NIL money among athletes

Stock Up

College football playoff expansion

Georgia has been well-positioned to make the four-team College Football Playoff in terms of playing for the SEC title three of the past four seasons. The winner of the SEC Championship Game has made the CFP every year, so the Bulldogs have had the benefit of being in control of their own destiny.

RELATED: 12-team CFP proposal surging forward, here’s where it’s at

The at-large part of the process has been more subjective, and Georgia did not benefit from the “Four Best” directive in 2018 like Alabama did in 2017. The CFP Selection Committee rotates members, just as it changes its selection criteria, leading to a vague process.

The proposed expansion to 12 teams, however, would strongly work in Georgia’s favor in the sense that the Bulldogs would have made it each of the past four years applying the proposed format.

RELATED: Kirby Smart says 12-team playoff would be ‘greatest change’ to CFB

Georgia, with the quality depth it has built through recruiting, would seem to be one of the programs better-suited for a deeper playoff run.

Staff

Georgia coach Kirby Smart has said it’s a given he will lose staff members by having continued success, and the loss of former graduate assistant Nick Williams to Texas A&M created an offseason ripple.

Smart has responded by beefing up his support staff with the hiring of up-and-comer David Cooper and former linebacker Juwan Taylor.

RELATED: Georgia bolsters staff with David Cooper addition

Cooper had a brief stint in Louisville after a successful run with Florida, while Taylor will bring his positivity and charisma to the position of player development assistant.

RELATED: Kirby adds another positive presence, Juwan Taylor

Stock even

Preseason all-star teams

As political and subjective as postseason all-American and all-star teams can be, the preseason versions are even more so.

Are they selected based on the top returning performers? Or, are players picked based on how they are projected to do the upcoming season?

It would appear the former principle was in place with the Walter Camp All-American team, as it has George Pickens on the second team. This, even though Pickens tore his ACL in March and will miss at least the first month of the season, and likely the second as well, at a minimum.

Georgia has plenty of other all-star candidates in addition to the three others who made the Camp second-team All-American list with Pickens (Jamaree Salyer, Jordan Davis, Jake Camarda).

RELATED: Georgia football talent goes well beyond preseason all-star team

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